Unilever announced on 4/26/21 that it’s acquiring Onnit, a holistic wellness and lifestyle company, based just a few minutes from my office in Austin, Texas. The company did not disclose the terms of the deal, but Onnit reportedly had revenues north of $100 million in 2020.
“You know what’s over that mountain? More fucking mountains.”
― Aubrey Marcus, Founder of Onnit
Onnit Isn’t JUST a Supplement Company
Onnit was founded in 2010 by Aubrey Marcus with a combined $110,000 investment, including a portion from his friend Olympic gold medal skier Bode Miller. The initial goal for the supplement company was to help people with hangovers, but after a conversation with Joe Rogan (Note: Aubrey Marcus was a regular guest on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast) Onnit pivoted into creating the best natural cognitive enhancer on the market (Alpha Brain — still the company’s best selling product). Aubrey Marcus also had a leg up against the average supplement entrepreneur because his stepmother, Janet Zand, was a specialist in herbal and “natural” medicine. After Alpha Brain sold out three times before the first payment was due to the manufacturer, Joe Rogan and Aubrey Marcus officially went into business together.
In 2014, the duo also opened the Onnit Gym in Austin, TX, which helped the company’s vision became more grand by seeking to inspire a journey towards “total human optimization” (360-degree philosophy to achieve optimal health and wellbeing, through physical fitness, mental performance, and emotional wellness). Along with a growing line of nutritional supplements, the Onnit fitness empire now includes;
- Unconventional Fitness Equipment
- On-Demand Fitness Programs
- Digital Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Content
- Black Swan Yoga (currently four Austin, TX locations)
Combine that with the endless personal branding library of both Aubrey Marcus and Joe Rogan, and it’s easy to see how Onnit transcends the “supplement company” label and is a true holistic wellness and lifestyle company.
Unilever — Health & Wellbeing Strategy
Over the last few years, Unilever has been one of the most active M&A participants within the functional CPG space…
- OLLY (acquired in April 2019)
- Liquid I.V. (acquired in January 2020)
- SmartyPants Vitamins (acquired in November 2020)
Unilever believes that Onnit’s holistic health offering and digital-first model perfectly complements their growing portfolio of innovative wellness and supplement brands. Onnit will continue to be based in Austin, TX, and led by CEO Jason Havey (has held position since March 2020). Finally, founder Aubrey Marcus will remain a Brand Ambassador.
Onnit has been able to build a truly unique lifestyle brand that’s located within an industry that often times reeks from being waterlogged in the sea of sameness. If Unilever leadership can refine the growth strategies at Onnit (not change it) and further improve it by leverage its massive resources and scale, Onnit will quickly be able to inspire millions more with the tools and information to reach their highest physical and mental potential.